8 November 2007

Liberia: New AFL Recruits Go Into Training

What appears to be a dream come true for many Liberians relative to the formation of the new Armed forces of Liberia (AFL) seems to be gaining more and more momentum as the second batch of the new AFL recruits have begun reporting on base for training.

As part of the process, the Security Sector Reform (SSR) on Monday November 5, led a delegation of new recruits from the Barclay Training Center (BTC) barracks, where the recruits were given clearances for direct admission into the training program which will be carried out at the Camp Sandi Ware in VOA Careysburg outside Monrovia.

A lot of the recruits, prior to their departure to the military base, made signs of the cross; an indication that they have made it into the new armed forces and with smiles on their faces showing a sign of relief after a difficult period of recruitment exercise.

The SSR convoy carrying ninety-one new AFL recruits drove directly into the compound of the Camp Ware Military Base where the recruits immediately began military procedures.

The ninety-one recruits, predominantly men, bring to a total of two hundred and sixty-six (266) new AFL recruits that are already on the military base undergoing training; while the balance two-hundred thirty -four are to arrive to make it a total of five hundred persons, are expected to arrive on base later.

Upon their arrival at the refurbished Camp Ware base, they were automatically given military orientation regarding to the response courtesy-how to answer "SIR" and "YES SIR," whenever an instructor or training commandant gives a directive.

They were informed that as long as they remained on the military base, they will not question any instruction or order from their superior but should rather obey authority by responding "SIR," "YES SIR."

The recruits upon their arrival were also taught how to present themselves as military personnel and were further acknowledged on 'Parade Rest', 'Above Face' and 'Post Attention.'

Making their first appearance at a military base, the recruits responded swiftly to the many orders that were issued by the training commandants with an amazing immediacy. Many of them saw their arrival as a great achievement in life, while other envisioned the military as a mere occupation. The seriousness however that was manifested on the countenances of the recruits showed that they were in more readiness to efface the misinformation that has been spreading about the new military in this dispensation.

SSR Deputy Program Manager, Mrs. Edith Bawn, who headed the delegation told reporters that the recruiting exercise was carried out in a very systematic and transparent manner; which included a vetting process.

She said as part of efforts to ensure that a geographical representation is reflected in the new army, the records of each of the recruits were forwarded to a special board referred to as the Joint Personnel Board (JPB) who then reviewed the listing of the candidates.

According to Mrs. Bawn, the process is one of the best in the region and as such encouraged young and energetic Liberians to take advantage to form part of the New Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).

The SSR official said that as part of the curriculum, the recruits will also be taught how to properly manage their finances while on base.

She disclosed that initially the recruits will undergo the Initial Entry Training (IET) which will enable them learn basic soldering and it is expected to last for at least eight weeks.

According to her, the IET would be followed by a five-week Advance Infantry Training (AIT); a course which she added will afford the recruits the opportunity to get acquainted with land map reading, hand-to-hand combat and firing at range amongst others.

The Basic Non-Commission Officer Course, according to Mrs. Bawn is the last course and it is directly intended for only commissioned officers.

Following the arrival of the recruits, one of the instructors at the camp took the journalists through the base so as to tour the camp facilitates.

During the tour, the journalists were taken to the housing facilities of previous recruits and were also informed that the new recruits, upon arrival are being issued special training outfits, including a pair of sneakers each and thereafter they are given three sets of military uniforms.

The total of five hundred (500) persons are expected to form part of this second round of training and they are expected to graduate next year.

Meanwhile, another batch of new AFL recruits arrived on base yesterday while the remaining group are expected to arrive today to commence their training.

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